I expect that this new stackexchange will be successful.

There are currently 2,336 questions with the tag "mathematica" on stackoverflow and a few others at physics.SE and math.SE.

Not all are relevant (such as comparisons between various CAS) but I expect that there should be a central place for mathematica-related questions, and mathematica.SE would be it.

Is it planned to migrate stackoverflow questions to mathematica.SE at some stage ? Will users and associated reputation and history be migrated as well ?


3 Answers 3


As a Stack Overflow moderator, I can tell you that this will more than likely be met with resistance on Stack Overflow (not as a personal preference, but based on what I've experienced) depending on the question.

Generally, when sites go into public/private beta that have an overlapping interest with Stack Overflow, the moderators are generally comfortable with migrating new questions on the subject matter over.

However, with old, established, and highly upvoted questions, the general policy is that they stay on Stack Overflow.

That said, a good number of the questions that you are asking for migration might be denied because of the above statement. It doesn't hurt to ask, but you should take into account how highly upvoted and how old a question is on SO when deciding what to ask to migrate.

Now, when Mathematica.SE gets out of private beta and a moderator has the option of moving to this site (only mods will, regular users only have the option to five of the main sites), we'll generally be more than happy if it's a Mathematica-specific question.

Also, if the question doesn't directly deal with Mathematica, as opposed to a more general programming question using Mathematica as the means to the solution, then it might meet resistance to being migrated, the general rule being "just because it's on topic for doesn't mean that it's off topic for Stack Overflow".

Note: I'm obviously interested in seeing Mathematica.SE succeed (being in the private beta), so please don't take this as "oh, he's just biased towards Stack Overflow"; that's simply not true. It's just a comment on how Stack Overflow feels about migrating certain content away in order to help you make the best decisions possible to make the site thrive.

  • 1
    As an interesting note, some of the older LaTeX/TeX questions are being migrated over to TeX - LaTeX. (I've lost/gained rep because of this.) And, it doesn't seem to have anything to do with number of upvotes, but the general idea that that's where they belong. This doesn't occur when the question is more generally programming related, though, as you pointed out, but it is still occurring, albeit slowly.
    – rcollyer
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 2:38
  • @rcollyer It's not impossible and I'm not trying to get people not to do it, just trying to give some general tips on the way the wind generally blows on this topic. And while it may not seem to have anything to do with number of upvotes, it's usually a factor if there are enough of them (as well as many others). The length of time is usually a factor as well.
    – casperOne
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 2:48

As RM suggested, we can compile a list of candidate questions which might be worth migrating. Please edit this answer and add more posts.

Candidates for migrating from SO

  • Should we migrate or copy all of the "canonical answers", which means most of Leonid's answers?
    – Simon
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 13:19
  • @Simon Someone who has experience with the beta process and launching new sites should chime in here. I haven't been on SE that long, this is my first beta. If after the site approaches the end of (public beta) it will be possible to properly migrate posts, then perhaps we shouldn't copy anything manually now.
    – Szabolcs
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 13:25
  • Actually, I forgot that migrated posts remain in a closed state on the original site (eg). So copying (and I meant some automated copying method) is not needed. The questions will still turn up on a search in the original site.
    – Simon
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 13:34
  • @Simon Migrated questions are eventually deleted from the source site, although their URL will redirect to the question's new location. The question you used as an example was migrated to meta from Stack Overflow and its original SO version doesn't exist anymore.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 14:55
  • @Anna: If you click on the migrated from stackoverflow link, then you get the question on the original site...
    – Simon
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 22:22
  • @Simon Yes, but that original version can be (and often is; possibly automatically) removed. I just double-checked and the original question is deleted.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 23:00
  • @Anna: Ok, so it's not visible to people with less that 10 000 rep? And, since you're a mod, why is the migrated question not simply locked on the original site - since it was obviously on topic an the most appropriate site at one point.
    – Simon
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 23:04
  • @Simon Yes, exactly -- only visible to 10k+ users and moderators. A migration implicitly locks the question, but a migration basically says "this question belongs elsewhere now". The original URL will redirect to the new location, so there's no need to keep two copies around especially since the question might pick up new answers after it's migrated.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 23:06

There shouldn't be any migrations happening now while the site is still in private beta. Now is your chance to ask the questions that will define the site early on and set the tone for the public beta.

Once the site hits public beta, there's room for some migrations but there are still a few things to consider.

In no particular order...

  1. You don't want to do a mass migration. Migrating a lot of old, answered questions from a larger site would push your new, unanswered questions off the front page and make it harder for the site participants here to contribute.

    They may also be very highly voted and that makes it harder for a small community to curate the answers and the questions.

  2. A migration's primary purpose is to find a better home for questions that don't belong on the source site. That a migrated question effectively ends up better categorized as well is a side-effect, not a goal in itself.

  3. Subject overlap is always a bit tricky to resolve, but as this site evolves, it will become more and more clear what sort of things are directly on-topic and should be migrated from Stack Overflow because they would receive better attention here and which ones are fine if asked on either site.

    One example of this is SQL questions and the Database Administrators site. Most SQL questions are still fine on Stack Overflow, but questions that touch on advanced querying topics may be more appropriate on the more focused Database Administrators site.

  4. Over time you may get new questions that have already been asked and covered well on Stack Overflow. At that time, you can ask for that specific question to be migrated so that it can be merged with your version to make a better final Q&A item. Other times, the answers your copy of the question gets will be 100% better than what the less specialized Stack Overflow community was able to give and a migration might hurt more than help.
  5. There are two communities involved here. Like casperOne said, the Stack Overflow community may be resistant to migrating some of these questions. From my experience on Programmers, I'd say that sometimes migrations are necessary anyway, but you'll have to find a certain amount of balance. The best way to do that is to open meta posts here and on Meta Stack Overflow to feel things out.

So, all in all, I wouldn't rush to migrate a lot of older questions. Give yourselves some time to figure out the scope and culture of this site to ensure that migrated questions don't end up getting closed, and then move on to considering carefully chosen migrations.

  • Thanks for the input, @Anna.
    – rcollyer
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 17:15

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